Design Thinking

Matrix Chart by Conánn FitzPatrick

A Matrix Chart can be created to help decision making and also to clarify concepts after a brainstorming session. It is very similar to a Morphological chart, however more casual in its structure. It can also be used as a starting point for creating ideas. Several Matrices may be used together to create a plan for different design directions. The design of a chair for an office could be the initial brief. For this a general matrix could be generated:

Ideas Minimalist Standard Hi-tech Additional function
Single support X X X
Double Support X X X
Tripod X X
Four Legs X X
Levitation X X X
Suspended from above X X
Solid Base X X X X
Back support X X X X
Balance related posture X X
Wheels X X
Movement X X
Adjustment X X
Swivel X X
Automation X

Thirty four Design directions are outlined so far for each of these a Matrix chart containing Materials or Processes could be used

Options Woods Natural and manufactured Metals (Ferrous and non ferrous Alloys) Glass Polymers(Thermoplastics, Thermosets and natural)
Injection Moulding X* X
Compression Moulding X
Extrusion X X

Forming Processes Vacuum:Superplastic:Draped:Jigs

Casting X
Rotational Moulding X
Blow Moulding X
Cut and Machined X X X X

* Similar process used for Light Non ferrous alloys

This method could continue for specifics such as fixing and joining methods or surface finish.

Options Graph by Conánn FitzPatrick

The options graph illustrates the various ideas and their working combinations. The solutions. Rather than outlining the solutions, lines are used to connect the ideas that are most unlikely, due to cost, functionality, weight, surface finish etc. This is because there are normally a greater number of possible solutions than impossibilities to any problem.At a glance the designer can see the potential designs that must be presented to give the client a full range of choices.

Creative Thinking Assistance by Conánn FitzPatrick

Creative Space

Some people find it effective to have their own creative space. This may be a layout of a room in which they have music playing in the background. It could also be with respect to a certain layout of items on any work surface that they are familiar with, which helps them feel in control.

Others may feel it necessary to spend some time away from the problem, perhaps a walk by the beach or a form of fitness training can create the clarity of mind to create new ideas.

Creative Posture

The way in which an individual sits or stands can have effect on creativity. Everyone seems to have a slightly different posture when they are at the peek of their creativity. For some it is worth remembering this position, in order to recall it when faced with a mental block.

Mental Block

This is a common problem that is occurred with in the creative world. People have the tendency to be creative for about 4 hours in any given day. So it is important that when a mental block occurs that the individual has the initiative to move on to some thing new. Perhaps make an updated presentation of new ideas, maybe attempt a different problem, creativity method or alternative project, but most importantly know when to take a well timed, clean break from the problem.

Expression Form by Conánn FitzPatrick

Expressive Forms can be described as product sculpture and are closely associated with the study of styling. In order to gain a better comprehension on form a simple task has been set.

Your task is to select two descriptors which include gender and and 2 attributes from the list below. You must then through the use of form, balance and colour create a design which echoes this combination of descriptions.


  • Male
  • Female


  • Speed
  • aggressive
  • solid
  • spindly
  • passive
  • assertive
  • friendly
  • fun
  • conservative
  • tacky
  • quality
  • sophisticated
  • gentle
  • relaxed
  • flowing

You must model the shape within a space envelope of 50mm x 71mm x 100mm.

Consider the use of the following to help communicate your theme.

  • Convex, concave or flat surface
  • Lines or curves indented or extruded from the surface
  • Balance and centre of gravity
  • Motion, dynamic and stance
  • Surface texture and colour
  • Layered geometry or apertures, which change the apparent weight or balance of the object.

Need to write a creative brief? by Conánn FitzPatrick

Bellow are guidelines for anyone wishing to write the perfect creative brief. When engaging in a new project we want to get the ball rolling quickly, layout expectations early and agree time-scales and budgets. 

Removing ifs, buts and maybes from the process greatly increases the chances of the designer surpassing the client's expectations and the development of a lasting relationship. 


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